According to the Houston Chronicle, the state of Texas is planning to keep a number of airport towers due to be closed by the FAA due to sequestration open using state funds. These towers are at smaller airports within the Lone Star State.
Smaller airport towers to be shuttered due to sequestration
According to the Washington Post, the FAA announced plans to close 149 airport towers around the countries, mainly at smaller, less-frequented air fields, in order to save money lost due to the sequestration law. The FAA is offering reassurances that even without control towers staffed with air traffic controllers, aircraft will still be able to land using radio communication or air traffic controllers at nearby facilities. An amendment to restore funding to keep the airport towers open for six months failed. Republican lawmakers are criticizing the decision, suggesting that it was unnecessary and is imposing an economic burden on local communities and is compromising aircraft safety.
Texas fields affected
According to a list published by Your News Now Austin, 13 airfields, mainly serving smaller, executive aircraft, are losing federal funding for control towers. These include the following:
New Braunfels Municipal in New Braunfels
Brownsville/South Padre Island International in Brownsville
Easterwood Field in College Station
TSTC Waco in Waco
Lone Star Executive in Houston
Georgetown Muni in Georgetown
San Marcos Muni in San Marcos
Dallas Executive in Dallas
Sugar Land Rgnl in Houston
Stinson Muni in San Antonio
Collin County Rgnl AT McKinney in Dallas
Tyler Pounds Rgnl in Tyler
Victoria Rgnl in Victoria
State funds to be used to keep airport towers open
The Houston Chronicle reports that the Texas Department of Transportation intends to spend the $7 million a year that will be required to keep the 13 control towers in Texas open that the FAA intends to shutter due to sequestration. The Texas Transportation Commission has to make the final approval, however.
Safety and federal spending priorities at issue
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has cited the safety of the traveling public as the main reason for stepping in and providing funding to keep the airport towers open, the Houston Chronicle reported. Perry's spokesperson noted that, for example, that the New Braunfels airport is used for air ambulances and that the Brownsville/South Padre Island airport is the only one existing in the region. Perry's office has also denied that the situation weakens the argument against federal spending, pointing out that the problem lays not in air traffic control, bur rather entitlement spending.Texas resident Mark Whittington writes about state issues for the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
- Politics & Government
- control towers